Behave with Money: Take Control of Your Financial Destiny

Krgoswami
15 min readSep 14, 2023
Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”

- Will Rogers

Money is a powerful force in our lives, influencing our decisions, ambitions, and even our happiness. Our relationship with money can be a defining aspect of our existence, shaping our lifestyles and aspirations. Do we control money, or does money control us? Are we chasing after wealth, or is it pursuing us? Is money a tool, a fruit, or a seed? Is it inherently good or bad? These are profound questions that require introspection to truly understand our attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions about money. Let us introspect and explore these questions and provide insights into how your perspective on money can influence your financial status.

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1. Does money control you, or do you control money?

To truly control money, we must start by taking charge of our financial affairs. This involves responsible management of income and expenditures. It means setting budgets, tracking expenses, and understanding where our money is going. When we take the time to manage our finances wisely, we begin to create a framework within which we can exercise control over our financial resources.

Moreover, making informed decisions is a crucial aspect of mastering money. This means educating ourselves about financial matters, including investments, savings accounts, and even debt management. With knowledge comes the power to make choices that align with our long-term financial objectives. It enables us to select investment opportunities that will grow our wealth over time or make decisions about saving for future expenses like retirement or education.

Prioritizing long-term financial goals is another key component of asserting control over money. When we identify what we want to achieve in the future, whether it’s buying a home, starting a business, or ensuring a comfortable retirement, we can allocate our resources in a way that serves these goals. By setting aside a portion of our income for savings and investments, we are essentially telling money where to go and what purpose it should serve.

In essence, controlling money means taking the reins of your financial journey. It’s about steering your financial ship in the direction you desire, rather than letting it drift aimlessly or be carried away by the currents of impulse spending and short-term desires. By managing your finances responsibly, acquiring financial knowledge, and aligning your financial decisions with your long-term aspirations, you transform money from a dominating force into a useful tool that propels you toward financial success and fulfillment. Ultimately, money becomes the servant, and you the master of your financial destiny.

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2. Do you run after money, or does money run after you?

Constantly chasing after money can indeed be a perilous endeavor, one that often results in heightened stress levels and eventually, burnout. This relentless pursuit of wealth can lead individuals down a path where they become slaves to their financial aspirations, forsaking other aspects of life that are equally, if not more, valuable. The consequences of this approach can manifest in various forms, including deteriorating physical and mental health, strained relationships, and a sense of emptiness despite accumulating wealth.

However, there is a more balanced and sustainable approach to achieving financial success without succumbing to the relentless chase. It begins with a shift in perspective and priorities. Instead of fixating solely on the accumulation of money, consider the pursuit of personal growth as a means to financial prosperity. This entails investing in yourself — both in terms of acquiring valuable skills and nurturing your personal development.

By focusing on personal growth, you empower yourself to become a more versatile and capable individual. This, in turn, makes you a more attractive prospect to employers, clients, or business partners, thereby increasing your earning potential. Moreover, personal growth extends beyond financial gains; it enriches your life on multiple fronts, including enhancing your self-esteem, providing a sense of purpose, and fostering resilience in the face of challenges.

In addition to personal growth, actively seek opportunities to create value in your chosen field or industry. Rather than chasing after money, concentrate your efforts on creating innovative solutions, providing exceptional service, or developing products that address genuine needs. When you genuinely contribute to your field, you become a magnet for opportunities and financial rewards.

Positioning yourself for financial success means being proactive and strategic. This involves networking, building a strong professional reputation, and staying up-to-date with industry trends. When you become a recognized authority in your field, you naturally attract financial opportunities, as others seek your expertise and are willing to compensate you accordingly.

In essence, the approach is not about pursuing money but making money come to you through your growth and value creation. This shift in focus can alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with a relentless chase for wealth. It allows you to maintain a healthier work-life balance, nurture your well-being, and cultivate more meaningful relationships.

It’s crucial to recognize that the pursuit of financial success need not be a frantic chase. Instead, it can be a purposeful journey of personal growth and value creation. By focusing on self-improvement, skill acquisition, and the creation of opportunities, you can position yourself for financial success without sacrificing your overall well-being. In doing so, you not only achieve your financial goals but also lead a more fulfilling and balanced life.

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3. How do you see money? As a fruit or seed?

Viewing money as a fruit or a seed represents two distinct perspectives on how we approach and utilize our financial resources. These metaphors offer valuable insights into our financial behavior and attitudes.

When we see money as a “fruit,” we tend to prioritize immediate gratification. Just like plucking a ripe fruit from a tree and enjoying it right away, we might be inclined to spend our money on instant pleasures and desires. This approach can lead to a lifestyle of consumption, where we focus on short-term pleasures without much consideration for the future. While it’s important to enjoy the fruits of our labor and treat ourselves occasionally, relying solely on this perspective can leave us financially vulnerable in the long run. It’s akin to eating all the fruits from a tree without planting new seeds for future harvests.

Conversely, viewing money as a “seed” emphasizes investment and growth. Just as a seed has the potential to grow into a fruitful tree, money, when wisely invested or saved, can multiply and secure our financial future. This perspective encourages us to think beyond immediate desires and consider the long-term benefits of our financial decisions. When we allocate a portion of our earnings to savings, investments, or assets, we are metaphorically planting seeds that will yield financial stability, security, and even prosperity in the future.

The key to a balanced and sustainable financial life lies in finding harmony between these two perspectives. Striking this equilibrium means enjoying the fruits of your labor without neglecting the importance of planting seeds for the future. It’s about finding a middle ground where you can meet your current needs and desires while also securing your financial well-being down the road.

Here’s how you can apply this concept in practical terms:

Budget Wisely: Allocate a portion of your income for immediate expenses, entertainment, and personal indulgences. This is akin to enjoying the “fruits” of your labor.

Save and Invest: Set aside another portion of your income for savings and investments. This money acts as the “seeds” that will grow and provide for you in the future. It can include contributions to retirement accounts, investments in stocks or real estate, or even starting a business.

Emergency Fund: Planting financial seeds also includes building an emergency fund. This fund serves as a safety net for unexpected expenses and ensures you don’t have to uproot your long-term investments when a financial storm hits.

Long-Term Goals: Define your long-term financial goals, whether it’s buying a home, funding your children’s education, or retiring comfortably. Allocate resources toward these goals like nurturing a growing tree, and watch them flourish over time.

Review and Adjust: Regularly evaluate your financial strategy. Adjust the balance between “fruits” and “seeds” as your life circumstances change, ensuring that your financial tree continues to thrive.

In essence, the fruit and seed analogy remind us that financial well-being is not about sacrificing the present for an uncertain future nor indulging in the moment without foresight. It’s about finding the equilibrium that allows us to enjoy life’s pleasures while securing our financial stability and growth. By planting the right seeds today, we can look forward to a bountiful financial harvest in the years to come.

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4. Is money bad or good?

Money is often seen as a double-edged sword, a force capable of both immense good and significant harm. However, it’s crucial to recognize that money itself is, in essence, neutral. Its moral character is not inherent; instead, it mirrors the values, intentions, and actions of the individuals who wield it. In this narrative, we will delve deeper into the idea that money is a tool with the potential to be a force for good when used conscientiously.

First and foremost, money is a medium of exchange, a means to facilitate transactions in our complex modern society. It is essentially a tool, no different from a hammer or a computer. Just as a hammer can be used to build a shelter or harm someone, and a computer can be used to educate or deceive, money’s impact depends on how it is employed.

The moral dimension of money emerges when we consider how we acquire, allocate, and utilize it. It is in these choices that our values and intentions become apparent. Money can be earned through honest labor, entrepreneurship, or investments in productive enterprises. Equally, it can be amassed through unethical means such as fraud, exploitation, or dishonesty. However, you have to be ready to spend considerable time behind bars for these kinds of acts.

The critical juncture where money takes on a moral character is how it is used. Individuals and organizations have the power to make decisions that shape the world through their financial actions. Using money to help others, whether through charitable donations, supporting community initiatives, or assisting friends and family in need, is a manifestation of its potential for good.

Furthermore, money can be a potent tool for achieving personal goals that lead to personal growth and fulfillment. It can fund education, enabling individuals to gain knowledge and skills that enhance their lives and contribute positively to society. Money can also provide the means to travel, experience different cultures, and broaden one’s horizons, fostering a deeper understanding of the world and its people.

Perhaps most significantly, money can be a catalyst for making a positive impact on a broader scale. Philanthropy, where substantial financial resources are directed towards addressing societal challenges like poverty, education, healthcare, and environmental conservation, demonstrates money’s transformative potential. It can fund research that leads to groundbreaking discoveries, support innovations that improve lives, and create opportunities for those less fortunate.

Money, by itself, does not possess an inherent moral quality. Its ethical dimension emerges through the choices we make in acquiring, allocating, and using it. Money can be a force for good when it aligns with values and intentions that prioritize the welfare of individuals and society as a whole. It is a tool that, when wielded responsibly, can help build a better world, advance personal growth, and contribute to the common good. Therefore, the ultimate judgment of money’s moral character rests with those who hold it and their commitment to using it for positive change.

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5. What is your attitude towards money?

Our attitude toward money is a multifaceted aspect of our lives that is deeply influenced by a combination of factors, including our upbringing, life experiences, and personal beliefs. This complex interplay of influences shapes the way we think about money and, subsequently, how we manage our finances.

Upbringing: Our early experiences with money often lay the foundation for our financial attitudes. Growing up in a family where money was discussed openly and responsibly managed may instill positive financial values. On the contrary, a childhood marked by financial instability or lack of guidance can lead to negative money attitudes. For instance, if parents emphasized the importance of saving and responsible spending, these lessons are likely to carry over into adulthood. Alternatively, if money was a source of tension or secrecy, it might lead to discomfort or anxiety surrounding financial matters.

Experiences: Life experiences can significantly impact our attitude toward money. Positive financial experiences, such as achieving financial goals, receiving unexpected windfalls, or making successful investments, can foster a sense of financial empowerment and confidence. Conversely, negative experiences like debt, job loss, or economic downturns can lead to fear, stress, and a more cautious approach to money. These experiences often serve as powerful teachers and influence our financial decisions and behaviors.

Personal Beliefs: Our personal beliefs and values play a pivotal role in shaping our attitude toward money. Some individuals view money as a means to achieve their life goals and make a positive impact on the world, leading to a more positive and purpose-driven approach. Others may perceive money as a source of greed or materialism, which can lead to discomfort or even guilt about financial success. Ethical and moral beliefs also come into play, as some people prioritize responsible financial behavior and giving back to their communities.

A positive attitude toward money is characterized by several key elements:

Responsibility: A responsible attitude means taking ownership of one’s financial well-being. This includes setting financial goals, creating and sticking to a budget, paying bills on time, and managing debt prudently. Responsible individuals are proactive in securing their financial future.

Gratitude: Gratitude involves appreciating the financial resources we have and recognizing that not everyone enjoys the same privileges. This mindset fosters contentment and reduces the desire for excessive consumption. Grateful individuals are more likely to find joy in non-material aspects of life.

Ethical Behavior: Ethical behavior in financial matters means making decisions that align with one’s values and principles. This may include giving to charitable causes, supporting ethical businesses, and avoiding practices that harm others or the environment. Ethical behavior promotes a sense of integrity and social responsibility.

A positive attitude toward money can have a profound impact on our financial outlook. It empowers us to make informed, responsible decisions, seek growth opportunities, and maintain a healthy balance between financial goals and personal values. Moreover, it can lead to greater financial security and overall life satisfaction.

Our attitude toward money is shaped by a complex interplay of upbringing, experiences, and personal beliefs. A positive attitude, characterized by responsibility, gratitude, and ethical behavior, can transform our financial outlook, helping us achieve financial well-being while aligning our financial choices with our values and principles. Ultimately, cultivating a positive attitude toward money is an investment in our financial and emotional well-being.

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6. Can your behavior change your financial status?

Financial behavior plays a pivotal role in determining our financial status, and it wields a significant influence on the direction our financial future takes. It’s not an exaggeration to say that our financial well-being is, to a large extent, a reflection of the choices we make when it comes to budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt. Let’s probe into this narrative more elaborately to understand just how profound an impact our financial behavior can have on our lives.

Budgeting: The foundation of sound financial management is budgeting. Creating a well-thought-out budget enables you to track your income and expenses, giving you a clear picture of where your money is going. It allows you to allocate funds to various aspects of your life, from essentials like housing and food to discretionary spending on entertainment and hobbies. By adhering to a budget, you exercise control over your finances, preventing overspending and ensuring you have enough funds to meet your financial goals. Over time, effective budgeting can lead to increased savings and a stronger financial position.

Saving: Saving is a fundamental financial habit that provides a safety net for unexpected expenses and paves the way for future financial goals. When you consistently set aside a portion of your income, you build an emergency fund that shields you from the impact of unexpected events like medical bills or car repairs. Moreover, savings provide the capital needed for investments, which can yield returns and enhance your financial status over time. The act of saving instills discipline and financial responsibility, helping you avoid the pitfalls of living paycheck to paycheck.

Investing: While saving preserves your wealth, investing has the potential to multiply it. Investing wisely in assets like stocks, bonds, real estate, or retirement accounts can generate returns that outpace inflation, thereby increasing your overall net worth. The power of compounding, where your earnings generate additional earnings, can substantially grow your investments over the long term. However, it’s crucial to approach investing with informed decisions, diversification, and a clear understanding of your risk tolerance.

Avoiding Debt: Managing debt is another vital aspect of responsible financial behavior. Debt, if left unchecked, can become a significant burden, eating into your income through interest payments and potentially leading to financial distress. Responsible borrowing for essential needs, such as education or a home, can be a sensible financial move, but it’s essential to avoid high-interest consumer debt whenever possible. By paying down debts systematically and avoiding new ones, you free up more of your income for savings and investments, setting the stage for financial growth.

The narrative underscores the undeniable fact that our financial behaviors and habits are the levers we can control to shape our financial destinies. By adopting positive financial behaviors like budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt, individuals can transform their financial futures. These habits instill discipline, financial responsibility, and resilience, allowing us to navigate life’s financial challenges while building a secure and prosperous future. Ultimately, our financial choices are powerful tools that enable us to achieve our goals, secure our financial well-being, and create a more fulfilling life.

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7. How do you perceive money?

Perceiving money as a means to achieve our life goals, fulfill our responsibilities, and support our well-being can profoundly impact the way we interact with our finances. It transcends the simple notion of money as a medium of exchange; it transforms it into a dynamic tool that can shape the very essence of our existence.

When we view money as a means to achieve our life goals, it instills a sense of purpose into our financial endeavors. It shifts our focus from the accumulation of wealth for its own sake to a thoughtful, intentional pursuit of a better life. Instead of merely stockpiling funds, we begin to allocate resources strategically, directing them toward the realization of our dreams, whether it’s owning a home, traveling the world, or supporting a cause close to our hearts.

Furthermore, perceiving money as a tool to fulfill our responsibilities lends a sense of duty and responsibility to our financial actions. It underscores the importance of providing for our loved ones, planning for retirement, and safeguarding against unexpected financial challenges. This perspective encourages a disciplined approach to budgeting and saving, ensuring that we can meet our obligations without undue stress or hardship.

Equally important is the idea that money can support our well-being. While it cannot buy happiness directly, it can provide access to resources and opportunities that contribute to our overall quality of life. From affording quality healthcare to investing in personal growth and education, money can empower us to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

In conclusion, our relationship with money is a multifaceted and deeply personal aspect of our lives. It transcends mere financial transactions; it embodies our values, aspirations, and sense of responsibility. To navigate this complex landscape successfully, it’s essential to take a proactive role in shaping our relationship with money. This involves a deep understanding of our attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions surrounding finances.

By embracing the view of money as a versatile tool, we can align our financial choices with our life objectives. Balancing immediate gratification with long-term planning allows us to enjoy the fruits of our labor while sowing the seeds for future security. Cultivating a positive attitude towards money can transform it from a source of anxiety into a powerful force for achieving our dreams.

Ultimately, money should serve us, enabling us to create the life we desire, rather than enslaving us in an endless pursuit of wealth. With the right approach and mindset, money becomes a valuable stepping stone towards achieving our aspirations and securing a brighter future.

Points to Ponder

1. Money listens to those who respect it. Treat your finances with care, and they will respond in kind.”

2. “Your financial destiny is a journey, not a destination. Make every financial decision count.”

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Krgoswami

Former aircraft engineer IAF, Retired Branch Manager SBI, Psychologist, Best Selling Author & Defence Recruitment Trainer https://krgoswami.com